New Executive Order Announces Nation-Leading Sustainability Operations
State Agencies, Representing an Estimated $50 Billion in Investments, Have Committed To Achieving Net Zero Investment Portfolios by 2040
Governor Kathy Hochul today signed a nation-leading Executive Order to accelerate efforts to make State operations more sustainable. As New York commemorates Climate Week, Executive Order 22 builds upon progress made by the GreenNY Council to continue streamlining the administration of the State's lead-by-example sustainability and climate directives and sets new goals for the environmental performance of State agencies. Governor Hochul also announced that State agencies and authorities, representing an estimated $50 billion in investments, have committed to achieve net zero in their investment portfolios by 2040. This bold action ensures New York State's financial resources are aligned with its clean energy and decarbonization obligations as enacted in the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
"New York is already leading the nation on climate action, and with this Order, we are creating the roadmap to help other states follow suit," Governor Hochul said. "With these new commitments, we are stepping up our approach to environmental stewardship with new and ambitious goals to shift toward renewable energy, invest in electric vehicles, and drastically reduce waste and toxic substance use - all while protecting our state's most disadvantaged communities. As a global financial capital, New York is in a unique position to combat climate change, and my administration remains committed to leading the fight by aligning our investments and operations with New York State values."
New York State Insurance Fund Executive Director and CEO Gaurav Vasisht said, "Under Governor Hochul's visionary leadership, New York is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 85 percent by 2050. As an insurer and asset owner, NYSIF looks forward to doing its part by decarbonizing its investments, financing green solutions, and collaborating with others to drive positive change and build a more equitable and prosperous future."
Through the Executive Order, the GreenNY Council will ensure that State agencies follow best practices in green purchasing and in their operations by issuing new green purchasing specifications and operational directives. The Order will be administered by the GreenNY Council, a multi-agency working group co-chaired by the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Division of the Budget, the Office of General Services, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the New York Power Authority. Required annual reporting from agencies and authorities will help ensure that the goals of the Order are achieved.
The Order covers the following targets and goals:
- 100 percent of the electricity used in State operations will come from renewable energy (as defined by the Clean Energy Standard) by 2030.
- 100 percent of light-duty non-emergency vehicle fleets will be Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035 and 100 percent of medium and heavy-duty vehicle fleets will be ZEVs by 2040.
- 11 trillion BTUs of energy savings will be achieved by 2025 through the BuildSmart 2025 program.
- Restricting new State facilities that enter design and permitting starting in 2024 from using infrastructure that can be used for the combustion of fossil fuels.
- Waste disposal will be reduced 10 percent every five years until reaching a goal of 75 percent lower than a 2018-19 Fiscal Year baseline, which will include a combination of strategies to divert materials from landfills, increase recycling, and enhance composting and other reuse of organic materials.
- The use of single use plastics will be eliminated in State operations.
- The use of toxic substances will be reduced in State operations.
- Habitats maintained by State agencies and authorities will be enhanced, including support for native pollinators.
- Climate resiliency at State facilities will be increased.
In addition to the Executive Order, agencies and authorities submitted action plans this month outlining their path to a net zero investment portfolio. The action plans include frameworks and strategies for evolving portfolio construction, including plans to increase investment in sustainable solutions. This fulfills the Governor's directive in her 2022 State of the State address. Further detail on agency and authority net-zero investment portfolio action plans can be found on their websites.